Stereotyping conservatives through false information works against anti-racist movement

Posted: August 17, 2014 in Anti-stereotyping/racism/xenophobia, Uncategorized, [Social] Media
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

rsz_keep-calm-and-stop-stereotyping-2Twice this week, I’ve come across posts on the web that have gone viral after falsely quoting conservatives in the United States of America. I am no fan of the Far Right, but still, being sick and tired of the stereotyping, I felt compelled to call out such misleading use of social media.

As the saying goes, “don’t believe everything you read,” and this holds especially true for content found on the internet. According to my Facebook feed and Twitter, however, it’s embarrassingly obvious that a lot of people I know do believe everything they stumble on online. I was able to guess and easily find out that the two particular articles I stumbled upon this week weren’t true because they seemed a little too stereotypical.

The first post that went viral was an article that said Ann Coulter, conservative commentator known for her outlandish comments, said that migrant children should be infected with the Ebola virus. Ann Coulter has said some pretty outrageous things before but to go as far to wish Ebola on migrant children, and to then deport them so they could infect the populations of Central American countries? I just had to check out the authenticity of the story, and lo and behold, The Daily Currant is indeed a satire site (I didn’t know that before checking out the authenticity of the article). It took me a few moments to figure out that it was a fake story; why didn’t those on my Facebook who post the article take a few moments to do the same?

Ferguson wife fake quote

The second false news that I came across came in the form of a tweet with a photo (screen shot) of a racist Facebook comment supposedly made by the wife of the Ferguson police chief. It’s difficult to find the original source of such sensationally false and misleading news, but if I could find that person, I would ask them why they couldn’t at least make their lie seem more truthful. The woman who apparently made the quoted racist comment doesn’t even share the same name of the Ferguson police chief. That should have been the first clue that something was fishy, but I guess the 7000+ people who retweeted the false information didn’t think it was worth their time to double check.

Both @occupythemob and the user who originally identified the woman have since deleted their posts, but the image continues to spread online, misdirecting outrage when there are plenty of real things to be pissed about.

There are PLENTY of racist bigots out there, but to perpetuate the stereotyping of them with false information doesn’t do anybody any justice, including victims of racism and those who advocate against it. I imagine that those who created this false information did so with the intent of pissing people off so as to compel them to call out against racism. But those who perpetuate stereotypes with such obviously false information just look stupid at the end of the day.

Ann Coulter is very outspoken; it’s very easy to get a real quote of hers that is obviously racist and anti-migrants. Real quotes from her could make people aware of her stance and, in turn, call out against her racist rants. Satire is satire, but perpetuating a stereotypical image of her is unnecessary. And to falsely quote the wife of the Ferguson police chief is just wrong. I have absolutely no idea on what her understanding of race and police brutality is; in all honesty, I cannot be bothered to know what her take on current events are because it takes away attention from the real issue at hand, which is excessive use of force against people of color in the United States and the culture of arbitrary murder of African American males at the hands of the police .

Anti-racist movements are movements against the stereotyping of people because of their race. To perpetuate stereotypes on others is not only hypocritical, it also anti-peace and anti-revolution.

Some things to keep in mind (some of these are quoted from an article I wrote last year titled “Nothing Kills Peace more than Stereotyping”):

  • The scariest thing about misinformation is the fact that it diverts attention away from the real facts and reality. Add this to the fact that may people love sensational news and believe anything journalists say without taking a single moment to question them, and you have a disastrous situation that is on the opposite side of the peace spectrum.
  • As a firm advocate against stereotyping, I’m not afraid to say that nothing is more counter-productive to peace than reducing people to a collection of cultural similarities rather than a pool of complexities of actuation real-life, day-to-day grievances distinct to a particular part of the world. Even to categorize a whole country is extremely difficult and impractical; communities, interest groups, individuals, and the variety of demographics of each country merits due respect and shouldn’t be clumped up under one label or cultural caricature. This is even more of a disaster and counter-peace when it is done to describe popular movements.
  • To stereotype and label details of a popular movement means to deny it its fight.
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Comments
  1. Natalie M. says:

    Another case of who-said-what in the media, it really does help us identify the root cause of stereotyping in the 21st century. I really enjoyed reading your article, telling it like it is about misinformation and how it only reinforces the negativity behind stereotypes. The Ebola saga in the Media continues to reinforce discriminatory stereotypes present in society. Im in the steam works of constructing a blog that aims to explore the idea of negativity in stereotyping. Whats your stance on making a negative stereotype positive? I would love to know! It would be great if you could check our cause out at http://loveyourstereotype.wordpress.com. Thanks for the informative read! 🙂

    • therealrahel says:

      To be perfectly honest with you, I have a hard time thinking of a stereotype that can be made positive. There might be some that are not as harmful as others, but still are quite negative because in their nature, stereotypes are not true depictions of people but imagined ones. And personally, I don’t know of any stereotype that truly characterizes all people of that stereotyped group, whether positive or negative, because in the end, people are individuals entitled to their own opinions, beliefs and practices. For instance, some people think I’m a musician or singer because of my hair. Now, that’s not such a bad thought, and I do enjoy playing the guitar and singing… but if someone concludes that I am something that I am not just by looking at my hair, that also implies that they can’t or are not interested in seeing me as who I really am. This issue of agency or lack of is a detrimental issue among those who come from postcolonial countries, those who have definitely been negatively affected by stereotyping as it often manifests to racism and xenophobia. Still, I do look forward to following your blog and wish you the best in your endeavors!

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